Academic Standing Requirements

Graduate students are required to maintain a minimum GPA throughout the graduate program and make satisfactory progress toward their declared program to remain in good academic standing.

  • Master’s students are required to maintain a minimum GPA of 2.7 throughout the program, and must be completing the appropriate courses in accordance with their degree program, as agreed upon with his/her assigned Faculty Advisor. Students must complete the academic requirements of degree program within seven (7) years of matriculation. Successful completion of master’s thesis (if choosing this option and is offered by your program,) following all guidelines and passing the required 2 CU’s of 5970: Thesis credit.


  • Ph.D. students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 throughout the program. Students must be making satisfactory progress toward the degree, including taking courses as approved by the assigned Faculty Advisor, and satisfactorily passing/completing requirements such as the Qualifying Exams and the Dissertation proposal. Students must complete the academic requirements of degree program within ten (10) years of matriculation. Students must complete and defend a Dissertation conforming to the rules of Penn’s Doctoral Dissertation Manual.


Graduate students not making satisfactory academic progress will receive a warning or be placed on academic probation.  Those placed on probation must create an academic plan for the subsequent semester to improve their GPA. This plan should be on file with the graduate student’s program and the Graduate Engineering RAS Office as well. In the absence of improvement in the subsequent semester, students on warning or probation may be dropped from their program and the University of Pennsylvania. PhD students can also be placed on the Research Support Plan (RSP) when needed for not making sufficient research progress.


GPA Grading Scale

The GPA grading scale is as follows:

A+ A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D F
4.0 4.0 3.7 3.3 3.0 2.7 2.3 2.0 1.7 1.3 1.0 0.0




Course Incompletes, Retakes, NR, GR, and Failures

  • The mark of “I” is used to designate an Incomplete, “NR” for No Report (no grade submitted), and “GR” (student was not present in class though enrolled). These marks will remain as permanent grades until a Change of Grade is submitted by the instructor of the course for the completion of the requirements. Students cannot graduate with an “I,” “NR,” or “GR” on their transcript.
  • A grade of “F” cannot count towards the course requirements.
  • No course may be retaken to improve a grade of “C” unless the content is different. No grade lower than a “C-” will be counted in courses designated as “core” courses or those courses must be retaken. However, students may compete additional work, with the instructor’s permission, to improve this grade. Graduation may not be postponed for grade improvement if all other graduation criteria are met.
  • If a grade of “D” or “F” is received in a core or required course, which prevents graduation, the student has three options:
    1. At the discretion of the instructor, the student can work with the instructor to improve the grade to “C” or higher with additional course work.
    2. At the discretion of the instructor, the student can retake the course by attending the course again (in a subsequent term) without registering or paying additional tuition, and will receive a grade change if earned. Please note attending again or sitting in on the course does not count towards full-time status.
    3. If instructor does not agree to either (1) or (2), the student can register and pay tuition for the course again. Upon successful completion of the course with the same instructor, the original registration will be changed to “withdraw.”  The original course will not be counted toward graduation or GPA. Engineering will not allow the course to be counted twice toward the degree.

Please note that students involved in academic integrity issues with the Office of Student Conduct (OSC) for the course in question, will not be allowed to withdraw from the original term’s course (#3) and that grade will remain on the transcript. If not a required course for the degree (taken as an elective) it is at the instructor’s discretion to not allow the student to take the course again if academic integrity was involved.

  • The mark of “S” is used to indicate satisfactory performance and the mark of “U” is used to indicate unsatisfactory performance in EAS 8970/EAS 8980: Curricular Practical Training (CPT); EAS 8950: Academic Field Study; Ph.D. dissertation research (9990); EAS 8960: Master’s Professional Development; and if applicable to the program, Ph.D. teaching practicum (8950).



MSE PhD Bridge Program Requirements

At the end of each semester, the graduate group chair and the assigned faculty research supervisor send a status update on the bridge student’s progress to the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs. Student requirements:

  • The student will perform research work in the fall and spring semesters with an assigned faculty member. By graduation, the student should either have completed a master’s thesis or at least two cu’s of independent study. The graduate chair should aid the bridge student in identifying the research adviser.
  • The student will participate in faculty-led summer research in their first summer, between their 1st and second years in the program.
  • The student will sign up for EAS 8960 and attend 14 research seminars in the department for one semester receiving the required ‘S’ satisfactory grade.


These requirements are for the Fall 2022 entry forwards.



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